“We want to work,” said the Ida May Project volunteers, standing in front of the wooden boat as they met in J Building on Wednesday, April 24 to hear a new proposal by the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corporation board (COSPC). At the heart of the delay in the work has been their concern over lack of funding. The current board wants 75 percent of the needed funds for completion of the project available before any new work begins. But Volunteer Ray Wulff has come up with “Plan B,” a way to cut costs to lessen the amount of money needed for the job but which will extend the time line to completion from 18 months to three years. The board wanted to meet with the volunteers on the 24th to see what they felt about the proposal and to try to get a commitment from them saying they are willing to put in the needed time.
Jack Hoyt, COSPC treasurer, said fundraising has been hard in these economic times, especially after Hurricane Sandy. He presented Plan B, which will use more volunteer labor working with local shipwright Josh Herman of Huntington who will work on a part time basis overseeing the work. He said, “It makes it harder to raise funds when there is no activity going on,” but he added that some of the dedicated volunteers have been working during the down time. They recently restored a tractor and refurbished the sawmill damaged in Hurricane Sandy.
In other news, Dr. Phyllis Harrington, superintendent of schools of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District, announced that she has tentatively accepted an offer to become superintendent of schools in Oceanside for next year. She is still working out the final details, she added.
Nassau BOCES unveiled its communications command center last week, aimed at providing better security to school districts and allowing first responders real time audio and video.
The center in Westbury provides round-the-clock monitoring and security by tapping into a school district’s existing camera system. Operators watch several screens in the room, which brings up live feed. Operators are not looking at video from all the participating schools at one time; instead video only comes up on the screens when an event happens. These events include doors opening, people in restricted areas, or fire/panic alarms going off.
There is a fascination about how an artist works, and Xiomáro offered some insights in his gallery talk at the Koenig Center on April 14. Surrounded by 20 of his 144 photographs of Sagamore Hill taken this February he talked about the decisionmaking process involved.
Artist/photographer Xiomáro has been getting a lot of attention n the press about his exhibit How I Love Sagamore Hill on view at the Koenig Center of the Oyster Bay Historical Society now through June 2. He said the most frequently asked question is how long it took to photograph the collection. Friends guessed a weekend, and others seven days. Five days, he said, but long days. He worked in the almost empty Sagamore Hill as it was being readied for restoration from 6:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. The staff was very supportive and willing to come in early to help him with the work.
Members of the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce gathered at Dodds and Eder on Monday, May 8 to celebrate Spring Splendor. Local restaurants, including Canterbury Ales, Serata, Periwinkles, Sweet Tomato, Coach Grill and Tavern, and Jack Halyard’s provided food for the attendees and Testa Wines and Superstar Beverages provided beverages. Chamber of Commerce events are great places to learn about upcoming events, and new initiatives which are being undertaken to support the community. Members of the Chamber are enthusiastic boosters of Oyster Bay and are diligent in their efforts to let everyone know what a great place Oyster Bay is, and that what you need is “right under your nose.”
Dottie Simons, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, mentioned just a few of the programs the Chamber is working on. The Chamber is creating a new Hamlet Advantage card for customers of commercial member businesses and non-profits located in Oyster Bay or East Norwich. The card will promote offers from commercial member businesses and non-profits. There will be several ways of promoting the Hamlet Advantage Card. A credit card size piece will be produced with names of Premier Card Participants listed on the back promoting sponsoring business. A letter size mailing with the card will be sent to all Oyster Bay/East Norwich residents and businesses. The card will also be available to participating members for distribution on a limited basis. Thanks to the sponsorship of Chamber members, it will be free to the consumer. The Chamber website (visitOysterBay.com) will have a special page for Hamlet Advantage participants.
Residents of Mill Neck, Bayville and Centre Island and the greater area turned out in large numbers for a standing-room-only meeting at Mill Creek Tavern last week. The Bayville Centre Island Rotary club hosted a Q&A session for all those desperate for an update on the West Shore Road project. Rotary Club President Jamie Scott ran the meeting, which highlighted guest speakers: Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Nassau Department of Public Works (DPW) Engineer and Project Manager Donna Boyle and DPW Press Secretary Michael Martino. Bayville Mayor Doug Watson participated in the meeting.
Also recognized at the event were the three area residents who founded and run the informational Facebook page “Revitalize West Shore Road,” Margaret Marchand, John Taylor and John Doyle (visit www.facebook.com/RevitalizeWestShoreRoad).
Deceptive looking from the outside, J Building on West End Avenue on Oyster Bay’s Western Waterfront has a lot of activity going on inside — two days a week. On Tuesday, April 16, Peter Nash of Oyster Bay was taking a peek inside. Retired from the aviation industry he likes to see how the work is going along. He watched during the recent restoration of the oyster sloop Christeen’s keel and now is watching the Ida May being built. “I can appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication to detail of the volunteers. [He pointed to the wooden pegs used on the hull.] It’s such a beautiful work. That’s why I always come by to see it progressing. That’s going to be a beautiful boat when it is finished. A true classic.”
Nash has a grasp on the core of the project, dedicated volunteers creating a masterpiece. Slowly — but surely — the new Ida May is being built at the site of what will one day became the Oyster Bay Wooden Boat Museum. It’s a long way off, but it is in the plans. On Wednesday, April 24 a meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. for volunteers in J Building, as a new season is starts as the weather warms up.
Several local leaders are discussing the possibility of teaming up to expand Nassau County’s sewer system to improve Hempstead Harbor’s water quality and stimulate economic health and home values.
A group including Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy and Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee Executive Director Eric Swenson visited with U.S. Congressman Steve Israel last week.
Rayhnam Hall Museum keeps improving. This week you will be able to see nine accurately restored windows replacing ones in the front of the nationally accredited house museum at 20 West Main Street. During this summer you will see the house at 30 West Main Street, next to the Raynham Hall Victorian Garden, the 1915 Lincoln Market building, being restored. Together, the two properties will create a new campus for the Townsend property.
Raynham Hall Museum is involved in a restoration project for the Town of Oyster Bay Landmark building, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. John Collins, historical architect, said using grant money from the Gerry Charitable Trust, the Main Street Association and donations from the board of trustees, they were able to do the work.
Professor Velsor has been researching her topic of the Underground Railroad on Long Island since 1994. She spoke about her journey to a full house at the Koenig Center recently, at a book signing attended by many Quakers, historians and interested listeners. She enhanced her talk with slides from the book. The book, the result of a research grant, includes notes, a bibliography and an index that will make it a great tool for future researchers.
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